Mold on Walls

How to Remove Mold From Walls With Vinegar

White vinegar stands out as an excellent solution for tackling mold on walls, thanks to its mild acidic properties. Effective on both hard, non-porous surfaces and capable of penetrating porous materials, vinegar reaches beneath the surface to eliminate mold at its roots. Explore the benefits of using vinegar, whether applied in its pure form, diluted, or mixed with alkaline substances like baking soda or Borax, to address and prevent mold growth effectively on your walls. This approach not only kills mold in your living spaces, but safeguards against future mold infestations. 

Vinegar Kills Most Types of Mold on Walls

DISCLAIMER: Toxic mold is dangerous and should be removed by a professional. Call us at (877) 349-1231 for a free consultation with a licensed remediation expert available 24/7 near you.

White distilled vinegar, available in both standard 5% and cleaning 6% concentrations, effectively eliminates about 80% of mold species. For walls with specific finishes, a diluted solution—one part vinegar to two parts water—might be more suitable. However, reapplying full-strength vinegar or vinegar-based mixtures could be essential to thoroughly eradicate mold and halt its recurrence.

Infestations that produce mycotoxins pose unique dangers. These harmful substances are not destroyed by vinegar or any other cleaning solution. Activated carbon air filters and ozone treatments that require evacuation may be necessary to eliminate byproducts of toxic mold. 

vinegar cleaning solution

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Mold With Vinegar

Materials Needed:

  • White distilled vinegar (5% or cleaning 6% concentration)
  • Spray bottle
  • Protective gloves
  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Water for dilution (optional)
  • Bucket or bowl
  • Clean cloth or sponge

  1. Prepare the Vinegar Solution: Fill a spray bottle with undiluted white distilled vinegar for maximum effectiveness. For sensitive surfaces, dilute the vinegar with water, using a 1:1 ratio.

  2. Safety First: Wear protective gloves to safeguard your skin from irritation. Although vinegar is less harsh than bleach, it’s still acidic.

  3. Apply Vinegar to the Moldy Area: Generously spray the vinegar solution directly onto the moldy sections of your wall. Ensure the area is thoroughly coated.

  4. Let It Sit: Allow the vinegar to work its magic for at least an hour. For stubborn mold infestations, consider leaving it on longer.

  5. Scrub the Mold Away: After the vinegar has had time to penetrate the mold, use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the area vigorously, removing the mold from the surface.

  6. Wipe Clean: Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe away the mold residue and excess vinegar.

  7. Dry the Area: Allow the wall to air dry completely. To expedite drying and prevent moisture from lingering, use fans or a dehumidifier.

  8. Apply Surface Sealer (optional): Once surfaces are dry, consider sealing walls with oil-based primer or pigmented shellac. Add a layer of paint that contains mildewcide to stop future infestations. 

  9. Inspect for Mold Regrowth: If you see mold regrowth, consulting with mold remediation experts is advisable for a permanent solution to the issue.

Vinegar Kills Mold Growing on Porous Surfaces (i.e. Drywall)

Porous building materials, such as drywall and insulation, absorb moisture. When high humidity levels or water from a leak persist, any organic materials, such as built-up dirt and dust or even cellulose used in building materials, can provide mold with the nourishment it needs to grow.

It is important to note, that you should not bleach porous materials. When you bleach porous materials, the chlorine stays on the surface while the water component penetrates deeper, which will lead to mold growth. For this reason, acidic or alkaline cleaning agents such as white vinegar are more effective.

Most mold cleaning experts recommend pouring undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle and apply it directly to mold-infested walls. Acetic acid will kill mold on the surface and get absorbed into materials to eliminate the mycelium.

Allow vinegar to sit on a moldy wall for two hours before scrubbing the surface with a stiff-bristled brush. Wipe down the wall and wait for it to dry. It may be beneficial to speed up this process by running new fans unexposed to spores or a dehumidifier to draw out moisture. Continuously monitor the treated area for signs of mold making a comeback in the days that follow.

If you’re dealing with more stubborn mold on your wall, try adding baking soda and water for a stronger mix. You can also mix one-half cup of Borax or sodium borate powder with one-half cup of white vinegar and one cup of water.


Removing Mold From Painted Walls With Vinegar

Vinegar proves to be an effective method for eliminating mold from hard, non-porous surfaces, including painted walls. While household chlorine bleach is a common choice for such tasks due to its disinfectant properties, its harsh and toxic nature can pose risks.

A solution that consists of a 5% to 6% concentration of acetic acid (vinegar) in water is much milder and may be less likely to irritate the skin and eyes. Vinegar is also less likely to damage or discolor your walls than strong alkaline bleach solutions.

Applying bleach in a diluted form to mold on hard, non-porous surfaces is generally effective for mold removal. However, bleach struggles to reach mold within the porous grout, potentially degrading sealants without fully addressing the mold issue. Vinegar, on the other hand, serves as a superior option for cleaning walls that feature both non-porous tiles and porous grout.

If you are cleaning a non-porous surface, it may not be necessary to wait as long as two hours before scrubbing or wiping down a moldy wall. Five minutes of applying full-strength or diluted vinegar should do the job.

Vinegar Can Prevent Mold Regrowth on Walls

Call us at (877) 349-1231 for a free consultation with a licensed remediation expert available 24/7 near you.

Vinegar is an effective cleaning solution for bathroom mold and mildew. Spray a wall with full-strength vinegar or a diluted mix of vinegar and water and scrub or wipe down at least once a week to discourage fungal growth. The presence of high levels of moisture, bard sources, low air circulation and lighting levels in an area can make mold growth more likely.

Taking measures to manage excessively high humidity or moisture levels can go a long way. If mold has grown on bathroom walls, make sure that the room has a functional ventilation fan with an airflow rating in cubic feet per minute that corresponds to the size of the space. Natural sunlight and artificial light also discourage mold growth.

If mold continues to grow on surfaces, you may want to check for a more widespread infestation. Hidden mold may flourish behind walls which may indiciate the regrowth of mold. Once a mold problem has been remediated, you can continue to spray on vinegar and wipe down walls once a week to discourage growth.

Mold-resistant primers and paints can also prove effective for discouraging mold. You can apply a coat of pigmented shellac or an oil-based primer. Once this preliminary layer dries, apply one or more coats of latex paint that contains mildewcide.

bleach versus vinegar

Vinegar vs. Bleach For Mold On Walls

Bleach is caustic and can cause eye, skin and respiratory irritation, even when diluted. Vinegar is a mild solution of acetic acid in water that is less likely to cause irritation or wear down wall surfaces.

Vinegar has a pungent sour odor immediately after application. If you want to mask the smell of vinegar, consider adding a few drops of essential oil to a cleaning solution. Many people prefer to use citrus essential oils for this purpose.

You should still wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves, when working with vinegar. A mold-rated mask or respirator can also provide protection from fumes as well as spores, microbial volatile organic compounds and mycotoxins.

Keep in mind that any cleaning solution can cause a chemical reaction that discolors or causes the premature wear of wall finishes. For this reason, you may want to test full-strength or diluted vinegar cleaning solutions in a small area that is unlikely to draw notice. If vinegar kills the mold to which it is applied while preserving the appearance of the wall underneath, it should be effective for a full mold cleanup.

If full-strength white vinegar is too harsh for some wall materials, try using a diluted mixture of one part vinegar to two parts water. Alternatively, a solution of one cup of Borax or baking soda in one gallon of water, or a blend of one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water, can also be effective.

Although Borax and baking soda are alkaline and hydrogen peroxide is a mild acid in water, vinegar stands out as a stronger acid. However, these cleaning agents are all milder compared to bleach. It’s crucial to avoid combining vinegar with bleach, as this mixture generates toxic chlorine gas. If you decide to switch from bleach to vinegar or vinegar to bleach, it is important to thoroughly rinse the area beforehand.

Household Cleaning Solutions That Are Affordable

Whether you prefer to use standard 5% strength distilled white vinegar, 6% cleaning vinegar, baking soda, Borax or hydrogen peroxide, all of these cleaning solutions are affordable and likely to be in your home already. These ingredients are also available for sale at most grocery and home improvement stores.

If mold is growing on a non-porous surface, you can use a surface disinfectant like bleach or vinegar. While the costs may be comparable, the effects of cleaning walls with these solutions may result in a need to repaint or refinish walls sooner rather than later.

Stubborn mold infestations may call for the use of heavy-duty fungicides or mildewcides. Make sure to use mold killing products that are for the intended application. If you are not sure about the extent of an infestation or whether the mold is toxigenic, consider contacting certified mold removal professionals to inspect or test mold and recommend the most effective approach to remediation.

mold remediation expert

When To Contact Mold Cleaning Experts

The most effective and cost-efficient strategy for mold removal involves methods that completely eradicate re-growth of mold spores. Treatments that fail to stop mold regrowth in visible or concealed areas can increase costs over time.

Promptly addressing and repairing water damage is a key strategy to minimize or eliminate the need for mold remediation costs. If this damage has already occurred, the most important factor is the extent of an infestation and the type of mold that seems to be present.

For infestations covering more than 10 square feet, partial or complete containment may be necessary, requiring the skills of professional mold remediation experts. This approach is important for molds causing allergic or toxic reactions.

It is impossible to identify the species of mold based on appearance alone. Depending on the situation, mold remediation professionals may recommend testing to determine whether the mold is toxic. In other cases, mold testing may be recommended to ensure that removal is complete.

Porous materials that are infested with toxic mold may prove difficult or impossible to clean. In some cases, mold may start growing behind drywall or on insulation, in which case it may be necessary to tear out and replace these materials to solve the mold problem.

If you are not sure whether to clean moldy walls with vinegar or if your first cleaning attempt was not successful, it may be worthwhile to schedule a professional inspection. Experts can use the best cleaning solutions or fungicides for the type of mold growing on the walls of a residence or commercial building.

Mold on Walls FAQs

Is bleach or vinegar better to kill mold?

Vinegar outperforms bleach for killing mold on porous surfaces. Bleach is an effective surface disinfectant, but the chlorine in household bleach does not sink into surfaces. Bleach is a strong base that is caustic and noxious and has the potential to discolor or degrade the condition of some treated materials.

Does vinegar kill black mold?

Vinegar can kill up to 80% of mold varieties, including Stachybotrys chartarum, or black mold. For greater effectiveness, consider mixing together a solution of vinegar, water and a powder-based antifungal or abrasive cleaner, such as Borax or baking soda, both of which are sold at grocery and home improvement stores.

Does vinegar kill mold on drywall?

Vinegar is effective for killing most mold that grows on drywall. Drywall is porous, which limits the effectiveness of surface disinfectants, such as chlorine bleach. One or more applications of vinegar kills most mold. Mold that is growing behind walls or in insulation requires tearing out and replacing these materials.

What kills mold instantly?

A fungicide is the fastest way to kill mold. These chemicals are the most heavy-duty solutions, and may not be readily available. If you choose to use a dedicated formula to get rid of mold, look for a product rated by the Environmental Protection Agency for the intended application.

What are the best mold remover products?

Distilled white vinegar in a 5% standard or 6% cleaning concentration is one of the best household products for removing mold. Other useful natural ingredients include sodium borate, which is sold as Borax, and sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda. Bleach can remove mold that is growing on hard, non-porous surfaces.

How do you remove mold from bathroom walls?

    To remove mold from bathroom walls, start by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution directly onto the moldy areas and let it sit for an hour. Then, scrub the mold away with a stiff-bristled brush. Rinse the area with clean water and dry thoroughly. For persistent mold, a second application may be necessary. Ensure the bathroom is well-ventilated during and after the process to prevent future mold growth.

    Does vinegar kill myotixins?

    Vinegar, while effective against many mold species, does not destroy mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are resilient and require more specialized removal methods to ensure a safe environment. It’s important to consult with mold remediation professionals for mycotoxin-related issues.